We need to break our insatiable appetite for bottled water. The U.S. guzzled back almost 50 billion bottles of it last year, up from just over 3 billion in 1997. That’s over 1500 bottles every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Think about it … these are just numbers for the U.S. Insane isn’t it? Well the most insane part of this story is that less then 15% of those bottles are recycled (well it’s also insane that we don’t mind swigging back toxic chemicals that leach out of the plastic and into the water). When not recycled they estimate it can take up to 1000 years for a bottle to decompose. No joke. This is true for most plastics, so think twice every time you discard any single use plastic item (bags, packaging, plates, cutlery, razors, shampoo bottles,; well pretty much everything really).
Now I can go on and tell you more disturbing facts, about the 18 million barrels of oil used to make these bottles every year or about the almost 1,000,000 tons of C02 generated in their production, but instead I will provide a better option:
1. Get a reusable bottle
There are plenty of options out there, but I use Klean Kanteen containers. They make them in various sizes, from 12 oz up to 40 oz, with many different lids – even a sippy-cup lid for kids. They are light and made of stainless steel (‘food-grade’ stainless steel that’s totally free of BPA and other toxins) which will last forever. I have several bottles of various sizes that my wife and I use religiously. My wife at first was a bit skeptical of not buying bottled water for the house, but within a few weeks she was fully onboard.
2. Fill the bottle with water
Sounds easy enough, and it is. I fill my 40 oz Klean Kanteen every morning, and it’s enough to get me through the day. Now I don’t really like the chlorinated taste of tap water, so we have been using distilled water (I add ConcenTrace Minerals to water as well). I have two 5 gallon jugs I refill every week or two. Now I have just recently started looking into getting my own “under the sink” filtration system. You can get a good one for around a $350-400 one time investment. And of course many simply use Brita.
3. Tell friends and family
These aren’t ground breaking revolutionary ideas, reusable containers are not new after all. This is simply a reminder which will hopefully get more people off of the ‘bottled water bandwagon’. Wait, did I mention the cost – over $15 billion spent last year in the U.S. – more than they spent on Ipods and movie tickets? Well, that seems reasonable, doesn’t it?
A video by the Story of Stuff Project: